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AlKafi 1374



Assalamualaikum SS Dato’ Seri Mufti. What is meant by silaturrahim?



Waalaikumussalam wrt. Wbt,

Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

Allah SWT state:

وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ وَالْأَرْحَامَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا

“And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed, Allah is ever, over you, an Observer.”

Surah al-Nisa’ (1)

Ibn Kathir said: it means, fear Allah SWT by obeying Him. Ibrahim, Mujahid and al-Hasan said: “الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ” means the same as the statement of a person: “I ask of you with (the name of) Allah and with (relationship) of womb.”

Al-Dahhak said: “Fear Allah SWT with whom you made an agreement, and fear from breaking the bonds of the womb, but work hard to do good and maintain it.” This interpretation is the opinion of Ibn Abbas, Ikrimah, Mujahid, al-Hasan, al-Dahhak, al-Rabbi’ and numerous other scholars.

Some scholars read “والأرحامِ” with khafadh (kasrah – diacritic sign) as athaf (continuation) from the pronoun “بِهِ” which means you who always ask from Allah and silaturrahim (relationship), as stated by Mujahid and others. (See Tafsir al-Quran al-'Azim, 3/332)

In another verse of the Quran, Allah SWT state:

وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِن بَعْدُ وَهَاجَرُوا وَجَاهَدُوا مَعَكُمْ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ مِنكُمْ ۚ وَأُولُو الْأَرْحَامِ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلَىٰ بِبَعْضٍ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّـهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

“And those who believed after [the initial emigration] and emigrated and fought with you - they are of you. But those of [blood] relationship is more entitled [to inheritance] in the decree of Allah. Indeed, Allah is Knowing of all things.”

Surah al-Anfal (75)

Ibn Kathir said: It is not meant through the statement of Allah SWT: “وَأُولُو الْأَرْحَامِ” (those of [blood] relationship) as those who are specifically with rights of inheritance as stated scholars specializing in faraidh (Islamic law of inheritance), but also include those who do not have any right to the inheritance through fardhu (division by stated portion in the Quran) and asobah (male relatives of the male line that will receive the remainders of the portions), such as maternal uncle and aunt, paternal aunt, grandson from daughter, niece and others as stated by some scholars based on verses of the Quran where they are certain that this matter is clear. However, the truth is, the verse is a general verse which includes all family members as affirmed by Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ikrimah, al-Hasan al-Basri, Qatadah and other scholars. (See Tafsir al-Quran al-‘Azim, 2/302)

Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar wrote that Imam al-Qurtubi said: “Al-Rahim that is connected encompasses both the general and specific meanings. As for the general meaning of rahim in religion, is it is an obligation to connect it by caring and advising, being fair and not unjust, as well as fulfilling the obligatory rights of it. While, the specific meaning of al-Rahim is increasing the sustenance given to family members and keeping in touch with them as well as their well-being and forgive them for their mistakes.” (See Fath al-Bari, 10/418)

Allah SWT also state:

وَالَّذِينَ يَصِلُونَ مَا أَمَرَ اللَّـهُ بِهِ أَن يُوصَلَ وَيَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ وَيَخَافُونَ سُوءَ الْحِسَابِ

“And those who join that which Allah has ordered to be joined and fear their Lord and are afraid of the evil of [their] account,”

Surah al-Ra’d (21)

Syeikh al-Maraghi said: Those who joined the silaturrahim as commanded by Allah SWT and socialize and care for their family members with love, compassion and goodness. Then, they do good to the poor and those who are in need of their help among them and give goodness and protect them from danger according to their capability. (See Tafsir al-Maraghi, 7/3510)

The word silaturrahim (صلة الرحم) originates from two Arabic words which are “صلة” and “الرحم”. Al-Raghib al-Asfahani said:

الرَّحِمُ: رَحِمُ المرأة (أي بيت منبت ولدها ووعاؤه) . ومنه استعير الرَّحِمُ للقرابة، لكونهم خارجين من رحم واحدة

Al-Rahim means where is the womb of a woman, where the foetus develops and is protected (inside the womb). And the term al-rahim used for family members are those from the same womb.” (See al-Mufradat fi Gharib al-Quran, pg. 347)

Among the hadiths that command joining and maintaining silaturrahim is a statement from the prophet PBUH:

مَنْ أَحَبَّ أَنْ يُبْسَطَ لَهُ فِي رِزْقِهِ، وَيُنْسَأَ لَهُ فِي أَثَرِهِ، فَلْيَصِلْ رَحِمَهُ

"Whoever loves that he be granted more wealth and that his lease of life be prolonged then he should keep good relations with his Kith and kin."

Sahih al-Bukhari (5986) and Sahih Muslim (2557)

Imam al-Nawawi explained the hadith from Abu Ayyub al-Ansari RA, the Prophet PBUH was once asked regarding a worship that will enable a person to enter Paradise, then the Prophet PBUH answered:

تَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ لاَ تُشْرِكُ بِهِ شَيْئًا ، وَتُقِيمُ الصَّلاَةَ ، وَتُؤْتِى الزَّكَاةَ ، وَتَصِلُ الرَّحِمَ

 “You should offer prayers perfectly, give obligatory charity (Zakat), and keep good relations with your Kith and kin.”

Sahih al-Bukhari (5983)

Imam al-Nawawi said: “As for the meaning of silaturrahim, it means doing good to one’s family members (kin) according to the situation of the person who is trying to join the silaturrahim as well as the person who he is trying to join the silaturrahim with. Sometimes it can be through monetary help, physical help, visits, offering salam and others.” (See al-Minhaj fi Syarh Sahih Muslim Ibn al-Hajjaj1/287)

Al-Hafiz Ibnu Hajar said: al-Rahim (الرحم) generally means close family relations. They are among those who are in the same lineage, whether they are eligible to receive inheritance or not and whether they are mahram or not. According to another opinion, they are only from among the mahram (close family relation who are prohibited to be married). The first opinion is stronger, for according to the limitation of the second opinion, niece and nephew of one’s spouse and cousins are not included as those who are prohibited to be married, thus, they are not considered as close kin or family relations, but this is not so. (See Fath al-Bari, 10/414)

Syeikh Mulla Ali al-Qari said that silaturrahim is a statement regarding doing good to close family members – whether they are from the same lineage or are related through marriage – being polite, loving and caring towards their well-being. (See Mirqat al-Mafatih, 8/645)

Ibn al-Athir said: “There are many hadiths that mentioned about silaturrahim. It is a kinayah (indirect indication) to do good to family members who have blood ties, or family related through marriage, by being good, love and care about their well-being. Whereas, breaking the silaturrahim is a contradiction to all this.” (See al-Nihayah fi Gharib al-Hadith, 5/191-192)


Hence, according to the above discussion and evidences, it can be understood that the meaning of joining silaturrahim is with family members whether through lineage or marriage by various means such as visiting them, offering help when they are in need and caring for their well-being and others.

We close this discussion with a hadith of the Prophet PBUH; when the Prophet PBUH arrives in Medina, he said:

أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ أَفْشوا السَّلامَ، وَأَطْعِمُوا الطَّعَامَ، وصلوا الأرحام وَصَلُّوا باللَّيْل وَالنَّاسُ نِيامٌ، تَدخُلُوا الجَنَّةَ بِسَلامٍ

“O people, spread (the greeting of) Salam, offer food to people and pray at night when people are sleeping, you will enter Paradise in peace.”

Sunan Ibnu Majah (3251)

May Allah SWT give us knowledge and understanding to us in fulfilling His every commandments including in joining silaturrahim the best we could. Amin.